University Study Finds the Presence of Diversity Programs May Serve to Deflect Actual Inequities

psp-150A new study by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds that companies that have diversity training programs benefit by giving the impression that they are concerned about equal employment opportunity, even when these companies don’t necessarily offer better work environments for Blacks and other minorities.

The study found that participants in their study were less likely to take discrimination complaints seriously when the companies had diversity training programs in place, even when the participants were given evidence of hiring, promotion, or wage inequities.

Cheryl Kaiser, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington and lead author of the study stated, “Our fear is that companies may prematurely stop thinking about diversity among their workers because they’ve credentialed themselves with these programs. Our findings suggest that diversity programs can be window dressing – even those that do very little to increase diversity may still be perceived as effective.”

Many diversity programs seem rational, she said. “By their design and goals, we’re inclined to assume they would be successful. The catch is that since very few are tested for efficacy, these rational assumptions may not actually map onto the reality.”

The article may be accessed here.

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  1. These conclusions fall into the biblical rhetorical question category, “What did you go out to the wilderness to see?”, aka, “What did you expect?”

    Who among us is actually surprised by these conclusions? Amelioration and begrudging mollifcation were never intended to effect actual change. Lawyers and so-called consultants that these companies hired told them that these programs were lawsuit prophylaxis. It appears that the companies’ money was well spent.

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